KENNESAW — Frustrated residents near a proposed development on Butler Creek told Kennesaw City Council members they fear it will cause serious flooding issues on their properties.
The project by Beazer Gain LLC is a proposal for up to 83 new homes along Pinecrest Road and Wellcrest Drive.
Beazer had applied for a variance for an encroachment for a road within the 50-foot buffer zone of the creek, but withdrew the request upon finding another solution. Zoning Administrator Darryl Simmons recommended the council accept the withdrawal with the condition that the developer create a subcommittee of residents from the surrounding neighborhoods to facilitate communication, but neighbors who attended this week’s council meeting questioned whether the committee’s input will be heard.
Lisa Adkins lives in a neighboring subdivision and told council members that the hydrology report from Beazer worried her and she believed the development would make the flooding issues much worse.
“When we get told that we can’t even use a gas-powered mower because we live so close to the creek, I don’t know how they’re going to excavate the creek, I don’t know how they’re going to get permission to excavate the creek, not to mention the watershed that will be disrupted with numerous species of concern,” Adkins said.
Gail Hollis said she lives directly across from where the subdivision will be built.
“The concerns that I have are the amount of runoff that is going to be happening below stream and then the subsequent backup that is going to happen for those of us that live near the bridge and farther upstream … We are already seeing even with the construction and improvements that were made on Pine Mountain Road, there is a concern already for flooding potential,” Hollis said.
Council member David Blinkhorn asked if any details about the committee had been put in writing, such as the number of members or how soon the committee would be formed. Mayor Derek Easterling suggested the committee be formed within a month, to which Simmons and attorney Joel Larkin of Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli, who was there on behalf of Beazer, agreed.
Once the motion was passed 4-0, with council member Chris Henderson absent, Larkin stepped outside so concerned community members could provide their contact information for the purposes of forming the subcommittee. The situation immediately become tense as one of the neighbors made it clear he would take legal action if his property sustained any damage as a result of the build and the neighbors shared stories and pictures of previous flooding issues they’ve experienced.
“I’m over it. Either the city or the builder gives me a contract. If we flood, you buy our house,” said one woman.
“We’re talking about our houses, our biggest investments,” said another resident.
Hollis shared a video with the MDJ of the swollen creek in a rainstorm flowing quickly toward where the new subdivision will be located. In the video, pools of water can also be seen collecting on the banks in view of some houses.
When asked for comment, Larkin referred the MDJ to attorney Parks Huff, who is handling this case, saying he was just filling in for the evening. Huff did not respond by press time.
In other business:
♦ Fern Gully Jamaican Cafe at 2756 South Main St. was approved for an alcohol license for beer, wine, and Sunday sales.
♦ A local tobacco shop’s plans went up in smoke, when the council denied its special land use request. Smoke Genius LLC at 3055 Main Street h♦ ad completed the application in order to sell tobacco products, a designation that would have been specific to the applicant and not transferable in case the business was sold or moved. It was initially recommended for approval, however, Kennesaw Police Officer Scott Luther informed the council that the business failed a compliance check on Sept. 4 by selling a tobacco product to an underage customer, specifically a tobacco cartridge for a Juul vape pen. Luther said of the 18 businesses where they did a compliance check, seven failed by selling to underage patrons.
The business was also in violation of city ordinances as it was not permitted to sell any tobacco products at all until the application process was complete. Manager Demarco Tudor Jr., who was representing Smoke Genius, apologized for the sale to a minor, but pointed out that his store wasn’t the only shop that failed the check. He also said he wasn’t aware vaping products were included in the products he wasn’t allowed to sell prior to approval.